Chapter

Herodotus and Thucydides in Roman Republican Historiography

Iris Samotta

in Thucydides and Herodotus

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199593262
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191752261 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199593262.003.0013
Herodotus and Thucydides in Roman Republican Historiography

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This chapter argues that if we look at republican historiography in a different way, a lengthy tradition of reliance on and response to Herodotus and Thucydides emerges. The method for achieving a credible reconstruction of the ‘dark matter’ available in its visible, but fragmentary and frequently controversial, context engages the techniques of ‘thick description’ originated by the British philosopher Gilbert Ryle and introduced into the field of ethnology and anthropology by Clifford Geertz. By contrast to ‘thin description’, which simply records proven references to Herodotus and Thucydides within the works of their Roman successors, ‘thick description’ is highly sensitive to context and is therefore able to recreate a plausible superstructure of the historiographical tradition.

Keywords: Thucydides; Herodotus; republican historiography; thick description; Greek historians

Chapter.  14019 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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